Photo courtesy of TreesAreGood.org
You can do a few things to prepare your trees for the upcoming winter so they may better handle freezing temperatures and the possibility of an ice storm.
- The first thing is to mulch your tree’s root zone. Add an organic layer of mulch – some examples are pine needles, wood chips, or rough-cut mulch from a chipper. Only 2-3″ depth is needed, making sure to leave a gap between the trunk of the tree and the mulch layer, and extend the mulch out to the dripline (the edge of the canopy of the tree if possible). Mulch will help insulate roots during freezing temperatures, yet still allow water to the roots.
- Have your soil tested to determine the PH level and if it should be adjusted. Never fertilize “just because”, always test the soil in advance of fertilization. Have a reputable tree care company fertilize based on the soil needs from the analysis to correct deficiencies.
- Remove dead wood from the tree canopy. Have a certified arborist advise on what branches are over-extended and may be subordinated to prevent the possibility of weight from ice breaking the branch(es). Pruning will depend on how much live foliage the tree has lost in the current year, so be cautious of pruning just to remove.
- Continue watering trees even in cold weather, monitoring the moisture and adjusting as needed due to rainfall.
- Cover young trees in freezing temperatures to protect young, tender buds if you can reach their canopy.
Taking a few steps to ensure your tree’s health for the upcoming winter will aid in their longevity for years to come.